35 govt officials referred to trial for allegedly ignoring sexual abuse at Cairo orphanage

Egypt’s administrative prosecution has referred 35 government officials to an urgent disciplinary trial for “blatant neglect” after they reportedly ignored evidence of sexual abuse among children at a Cairo orphanage, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

The defendants, who include a number of officials at the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the municipality, face charges including “blatant neglect of their duties” for failing to take action after seeing evidence that older children were sexually victimising their younger peers at an orphanage in the eastern Cairo suburb of Ain Shams, administrative prosecution spokesman Mohamed Samir said in a statement.

Medical examination showed that 35 out of 80 children at the Fatma Al-Zahraa orphanage were subjected to repeated sexual assaults, the statement added.

Administrative prosecutors ordered a probe into the case in February after a social worker appeared on the TV talk show Ashera Masaan alleging a prevalence of sexual assault at the orphanage.

The prosecution said that investigations revealed that a supervisor at the orphanage had filed a report after noticing what appeared to be signs of sexual abuse on a child while helping him shower.

During a session with the social worker who later appeared on Ashera Masaan, the child revealed he was sexually assaulted by an older peer.

The social worker says that the management at the orphanage ignored her when she reported the incident, saying that such incidents are to be expected among gatherings of children of the same sex.

The social worker says she was then removed from her position at the orphanage.

She says that the management has ignored several reports of sexual assaults violations since 2012.

The prosecution says that a number of other violations have been found at the orphanage, including a lack of security, qualified education staff, and medical care.

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